One of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s defence industry goals is to enable Turkey to build its own aircraft carriers and ultimately become independent in the field of defence.
Few countries have been able to achieve this objective. Only eight navies have flat top aircraft carriers, while another six have warships with full-length flight decks that can be used by aircraft with short take-off requirements and vertical landing (STOVL) capabilities. Only nine countries in the world are able to build their own carriers.
Turkey is building two multi-purpose amphibious assault ships, TCG Anadolu and TCG Trakya, modeled on Spanish Navantia’s Juan Carlos class carrier. These ships, which will be seen as aircraft carriers by the Turkish public, will be the largest warships in the Turkish fleet, at more than 230 meters in length and with a displacement of nearly 27,500 tonnes.
But Turkey’s aircraft carrier dream depends to a great extent on its acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system. Washington appears determined to block this purchase, as U.S. officials have repeatedly warned Ankara of sanctions as well as its possible removal from the F-35 advanced fighter jet program.
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